Eat Well & Spend Less in the US & Canada

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This month I’ve been collaborating with a great group of bloggers to bring to you a series on how to reduce your grocery costs while continuing to eat well. Ours is a vast and varied group: we live in different parts of the country, we have different sized families, we cook and eat differently.

But we all want to eat well and spend less.

So, putting our heads together has been great fun — and we’ve learned so much about each other and about how to save money on food.

Last week we each gave a peek into how we go about food shopping. I gave you a peek into grocery shopping in Southern California. I loved this whirlwind tour of the US and Canada. If you didn’t catch the first train, you can now! Ready to go?

Remember: please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times

Tammy @Tammy’s Recipes

Since we’re starting in California, let’s go up the coast to Washington State where Tammy lives. Tammy is a mom to four little ones. She approaches feeding her family from a 3-step plan:

1. Eat affordable + nutritious (or “whole”) foods.
2. Shop at 1-2 stores.
3. Plan for healthy eating, even during busy or stressful times.

Take a peek into Tammy’s shopping trips and see how she makes Costco and scratch cooking work for her.

Carrie @ Denver Bargains

What a lovely time in the Pacific Northwest, now let’s make our way southeast through the Rockies and visit Carrie in Colorado. Carrie regularly shops at ten or more different stores! As Carrie points out,

Colorado is probably not the place that would initially come to mind when you think of places to get great grocery deals. Yes, we do have a lot of great local producers of beef, dairy, produce, and more, but we’re not exactly famous for a fabulous growing season or other amazing agricultural conditions.

For whatever reason, though, we do seem to have a lot of grocery stores that are fairly competitive with each other.

And how! Carrie shows you how to get it done, whether you live in Colorado or elsewhere.

Katie @Good Life Eats

Our next stop is New Mexico where Katie cooks and feeds a family of four. As a working mom, Katie realized that running all over town wasn’t the best use of her time, so she’s reduced her errands to two stores,

I like getting those errands done as fast as possible so I can complete my weekly work as fast as possible – that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy my work, but I want to be there (physically, mentally, and emotionally) when my kids are there. And I won’t lie, it’s a struggle!

See Katie’s tips for making the most of limited time for grocery shopping and how meal planning, list making, Costco, and a backyard garden help her out.

Alyssa @ Keeping the Kingdom First

Heading east, let’s visit Alyssa, a California girl who’s been transplanted to the Lone Star State. Alyssa recounts the story of how the big shopping opportunities in Texas got her into big budget woes. However, she’s learned to curb her spending in a way that best suits her family,

My shopping habits look a bit different today. I still use coupons, but my main goal is to feed my family well. We also eat mostly gluten-free, which can present a challenge. This does mean I shop at multiple stores, but the key here is choosing wisely. Too many choices and deals can derail the best of intentions.

Check out Alyssa’s tips for shopping intentionally.

Shaina @Food For My Family

Jetting north, our next stop is the land of my forefathers, Minnesota, where Shaina feeds her family of  six. Weather conditions in the Midwest can make grocery shopping a little tricky. Four seasons make for four different seasons of food availability. As Shaina says,

Our shopping habits change with the seasons as winter turns to spring and then summer brings a large harvest that turns again to winter.

Shaina shares how she makes it work, including a video of a farmer’s market trip.

Katie @Kitchen Stewardship

Ready to go to Michigan? That’s where Katie lives. Over the last year she has transformed her kitchen, moving into more whole foods. She even did a cost analysis of how their new habits compare in price to their old ones. The results are interesting, especially as her family is growing in size this year.

As Katie describes her climate, “I live in Michigan, where we have all four seasons, sometimes three in one day.” She goes on to illustrate ways to shop for a whole foods diet in the Midwest, but there are great take-aways regardless of where you live.

Aimee @ Simple Bites

As you may remember, I was a French major and am a francophile at heart, despite the fact that my French is quite rusty. So, visiting Aimee in Montreal, Canada was a real treat. I had no idea that a European-esque shopping experience was so close to home. Grab a coat — we’re off for Quebec!

I love how Aimee shops,

As a resident of one of the top cities in the North American food scene, I am fortunate to have a wealth of ingredients at my fingertips. Spices from a top quality spice merchant, local cheeses, apples by the bushel, and, of course, pure maple syrup are just a few of the choice local ingredients that reside in my pantry.

She goes on to explain how she gets much of her family’s food directly from its source.

Mandi @ Food Your Way

Bid farewell to Canada as we head to the Eastern US where Mandi lives in West Virginia. Mandi also lives in the boonies, so grocery shopping can be more of an event than it is for some,

Because we live 25-30 minutes from the closest grocery store (on a good day, when you’re not stuck behind either a tractor trailer hauling logs or someone who slows down to 25 MPH for every curve on the mountain highway), we probably spend more time preparing for our grocery shopping than we do actually grocery shopping.

Check out Mandi’s tips for staying on budget and economizing money and time while shopping.

Shopping Strategies that Go Beyond Borders

No matter where you live, the strategies that these ladies have shared really go beyond the boundary lines of your cities, states, and nations. Savvy shopping has to do with a mind set. If you’re determined to find a way to save money and willing to put in the time or effort, you can make food shopping fit your budget.

To help you do that, each of us is hosting a wonderful, grocery-themed giveaway today, courtesy of Kroger.

Win a $50 Kroger Grocery Card

To enter: Simply leave a comment on this post, telling me one thing you learned from the series to reduce your spending while still maintaining a healthy diet.

This giveaway is open until Sunday, May 1st, 8 pm PST. Winner will be chosen at random and notified via email. You will then have 48 hours to respond in order to claim your prize.

I can’t wait to hear your answers! And don’t forget to hop over to the other blogs and enter their giveaways as well. You’ve got nine chances to win!

Disclosure: Kroger has provided this gift card for giveaway.

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  1. I learned how much dried beans can save, how to make thhem and how to freeze them. Loved this series!

  2. I really like reading how different everyone’s shopping experiences were. I learned that my theory of not shopping all over the place olny at 1 or 2 stores is advantageous.

    Thanks so much for this series.

  3. Katie Bauer says:

    I loved reading about the shopping experiences. I live in Michigan so I thought I would relate to Katie’s posts but I actually related more to Aimee’s because she lives in a rural area, unlike Katie. How great to learn new and improved shopping habits!!

  4. I learned to “BE PREPARED!”. Oftentimes, I just wander around (usually hungry!) with no plan, no list, and this is NOT a good idea 🙂

    Wonderful post! Thank you!!!

  5. Jessie C. says:

    I love reading how to shop and eat well and stay in the budget.

  6. I read a lot of blogs and find my self already clipping coupons, finding the BEST deals and not shopping all over town to get the great deals. (You spend more in gas and not keeping the cash in you pocket)

  7. Christina says:

    I loved the idea about making salads once a week from Tammy. I love salads but hate making them so I buy lettuce and it sits in my fridge going bad (not a very frugal thing…)

  8. I am learning all about CSA’s and am investigating joining one locally. Thanks so much for doing this series!

  9. I learned how cooking from scratch can save so much.

  10. Christine says:

    I learned about making my own salad dressing to save money.

  11. We already eat a lot of dried beans but now I know the trick about freezing them.

  12. I thought it was interesting how everyone uses so many strategies to save on groceries.

  13. stretching my meat by using less in recipes.

  14. I enjoyed the frugal meal ideas.

  15. Rebecca D says:

    I learned to think outside the box when deciding on places to shop. You can find great deals in different departments of so many different stores.

  16. I love the idea of shopping at more than one store. Great tips!

  17. Kristiana says:

    Planning is definitely key – certain stores have the best prices on produce, while others have the best prices on things that I can store longer. If I plan it out, I can save money and not be in a pinch at the last minute.

  18. What a great series. Just saw the news where food prices are expected to rise even more. On another note. J’ai une diplome colegial in francais tambien.

  19. I learned beans can be used in brownies! I’m going to try those in the next couple of weeks.

  20. I learned that you can save money by making your own salad dressing.

  21. I am also a warehouse club shopper, more Sams Club than Costco based solely on location, and I appreciated the support from the other women on that. Many people avoid those because they can’t coupon there, but I love getting my stuff in bulk!

  22. Making large recipes out of a few, fresh ingredients lets me eat well on a small, graduate student’s budget! I survive on leftovers! Thanks for the helpful recipes!

  23. I am learning more about CSA’s and how to join them.

  24. I’m thinking if I shop at 1-2 stores this will work for us.

  25. I loved the added info on beans. Now I know much more what I can do with them to add them into my family’s diet more.

  26. I learned a lot of helpful bean recipes. I appreciate them all.

  27. Pamela O. says:

    Lots of confirming info for me and what I am doing but also a great resource to come back to. I hope to do more freezing to save on food.

  28. I’ve learned about beans and how they can be healthy and frugal! Also, that making your own granola bars are delicious!

  29. One thing this series reminded me of was the idea of “pantry meals”. Having things easily on hand can really save money.

  30. elizabeth says:

    I loved the info about switching to more whole foods and how to cook from scratch. Very helpful!

  31. I learned to go straight to the source and found a dairy farm nearby where I can get raw milk for a price that matches the grocery store pasteurized milk.

  32. I love this series! I have tried to cook more from scratch and stock up on staples.

  33. I am awful at wasting food since it goes bad before I get around to using it. I appreciated learning about what I can make from my pantry and I hope to do better at tracking what is in my fridge and using it before it goes bad.

  34. Julie Sanchez says:

    The best thing that I got out of the series is probably how to choose what things to splurge on and what things to skimp on. 🙂

  35. I learned to better plan meals!

  36. I like the idea of buying from summer farmer’s markets and then freezing the bulk for winter!

  37. I love Tammy’s idea of limiting shopping to 1-2 stores. This would greatly help me out as I start homeschooling next year. I also like her idea of cooking numerous things early in the week: oatmeal, beans, salads, etc.

  38. we definately change our eating with the seasons. I’m not in MN, but that comment stuck a cord.

  39. Sally Mcquaid says:

    I can really relate to Kates story. I also am a working mom and I liked her idea of getting it done as quickly as possible so I can be with my family.

  40. I gave up on coupons. Nine times out of ten, if there’s a coupon for it, you shouldn’t be eating it anyway. After a while of making the rounds, I’ve memorized who has what cheapest, and I try to hit whatever store is on my way back from whatever errand I’m running, and then stock up on the things that are cheapest there. As a result, I go to the grocery store about seven times a week, and yet, I never make a special trip there, so I’m not burning any more gas in the process.

    That’s one thing people don’t factor in: your time and gas. If you burned a gallon going there, then you had better have “saved” $4.00 in the process or it’s a net loss.

    Same with coupons. The average home printer cost about 27¢ to print a page, so if you printed a 25¢ coupon, you just lost two cents. Print more than one per page, or even shrink them down to print 8 or more, if you can.


  41. Utilize your freezer to buy in bulk when things are on sale.

  42. I learned so much! Learning about everyone’s “Frugal Meals” was my favorite–many new additions to next month’s meal plan.

  43. I shop different stores for the best price and that saves me money, whether produce or bulk or everyday items and I save gas by doing it with other errands

  44. I learned that it is worth the time to stop and spend a little energy to find healthy deals.

  45. My slow cooker has saved me many, many times. On nights when we have a sports event, instead of running through the drive-through I will put something in the crockpot in the morning. Also bringing my lunch to work saves a lot!

  46. From Aimee, I learned that driving out of your way to get from directly from the source guarantees freshness and may even save $!

  47. Lynda Clark says:

    We use less meat in our recipes and more veggies, that way we can stretch out our meat budget farther. We also buy produce from a local farm stand, which is cheaper than the chain grocery stores and supports a local business. This year, we are attempting our first home grown vegetable garden. We also coupon, but only for the brands that we would normally buy.

  48. I think the biggest idea I took away from the series is to shop at several stores to make the most of sales and coupons.

  49. I really liked the tips on using shopping time wisely to avoid overspending money and time.


  50. Shopping at only 1-2 stores was the best tip for me. I always have wondered if I’m “missing out” by not shopping more stores, but can’t do that with 8 children.

  51. I learned quite a bit from Tammy at Tammy’s Recipes about having a plan. I have found that it makes all the difference in the world to have a plan in order to eat healthier and not spend too much money.

  52. I haven’t been following the entire series (didn’t even realize it was going on, I don’t think!) but I just read Katie’s latest post on how she shops in New Mexico. That entry caught my eye RIGHT away, because we moved to NM from FL about 5 months ago, and I STILL have not gotten the hang of grocery shopping! We have found the cost of living to be MUCH more expensive here (Santa Fe); and although I was not used to doing a lot of shopping at Sam’s Club (we don’t have a Costco) I have learned that a lot of people here do that. I just “discovered” Smith’s a few weeks ago and have been going there; I too was doing the Sunflower Market/Smith’s/Walmart (but not a supercenter, which hasn’t been allowed here in Santa Fe yet–!!)/Sam’s multiple runs, and with three kids four and under when we moved here, that just wasn’t working for me. It was good to read the encouragement that heavy-duty couponing isn’t the ONLY way to go, and that running around to every store for the best individual prices is not always the best idea! Thanks Katie, and thanks to you too for the giveaway!

  53. We’ve started making more salads and using beans more often.

  54. I liked learning about prepping salads etc at the beginning of the week to save on time and reduce waste.

  55. Something I have been learning for awhile, and this series really hit home to me, is that we just need to eat more beans. I also learned that I need to embrace where I live (Alaska) and just deal with it. Food costs more here and there is no way I can have a cheap grocery bill like some people in other areas. But if I plan better and use the free resources we have (fish, berries, tea-making herbs) I could save a lot!

  56. I learned that there are many different ways to save money while eating well, and I am working on putting together lots of the ideas into a system that works for me.

  57. Cooking more from scratch!

  58. I like Katie @ Good Life Eats and Tammy’s tips to meal plan. Planning the meals out really help me to make sure they are healthy.

  59. This series has helped me to rethink and become more motivated to make a simple menu plan. I make menu planning too difficult, and thanks to you I’ve begun to simplify and be satisfied!

  60. we have embraced the “shop at one or two stores” strategy… living in the country its more economical then trying to make multiple trips 🙂

  61. Beans, beans, and more beans 🙂

  62. What a great series! I have been seriously overwhelmed with the idea of cooking beans – I didn’t know where to start since no one in my family really ‘loves’ beans. After reading these, I now feel like I have a better handle on how to prepare them in ways that my family will eat them. Thanks!

  63. loved Mandi’s entry about living in the boonies of MD. we’re trying to eat locally as much as we can-becomes easier as the weather warms up for us.

  64. I should add all kinds of vegs into my salads, just don’t limit it to lettuce , tomatoes and carrots!

  65. I learnt to cook things from scratch and stay within our grocery budget. 🙂

  66. I’ve been encouraged to plant my own garden this year. Can’t wait to eat fresh tomatoes!

  67. Like Aimee, we are close enough to many farming families to access local, fresh ingredients more than I do now….hmmmm….I think I’ll work harder on that this spring and summer.

    Thank you for entering us. 🙂

  68. I learned a lot about incorporating beans into our weekly menus as a supplement to, or instead of meat. Thanks for doing this!

  69. i’ve learned to shop for in season.

  70. I like the idea of buying more items from the source to cut costs. My family used to buy all our meat, eggs, honey, and most of our veggies from local farmers. We still do some of that, but it might be good to get back to more of it.

  71. I have learned to try to stay within the grocery budget.

  72. I think I’ll try sourcing some of our meat’s from local ranchers. Thanks for the giveaway!

  73. I’ve learned so many great things! cooking from scratch, buying in bulk- things I really need to do to trim the budget and the extra calories!

  74. First THANK YOU for getting this group of bloggers together to reinforce what I do and add to my plan for saving/healthy eating. I think the best thing I’ve learned since staying home as a mom (and losing my income and having to budget) is PLAN! Meal Plans, shop sales, eat beans & rice. I make my own bread and keep whole grains for many things. My pantry ROCKS! But the best news is what I learn, I pass on. I’ll be sharing this post on my blog and face book. Love it!

  75. I loved seeing how all the various methods (lots of stores, few stores, etc) can achieve the same thing. I added a lot of blogs to my blog reader too!

  76. I have not done much seasonal shopping before, and I think that is something that will really help me!

  77. One thing that this series has motivated me to do is to make more food from scratch. The first thing I want to try is yogurt. Now to find the time…

  78. The biggest thing I’ve learned, you said right here on this page. It’s a lesson I’ve had to read and live over and over again and continue learning: With the right mind set it IS possible to eat heathy and stay within a decent budget. It’s not always easy, but it is worth it!

  79. Nicole Greene says:

    I learned that shopping all over town for the best prices is not ALWAYS the best thing–costs just as much when you consider gas in there as well—great series! Thanks for the giveaway as well 🙂

  80. I love the idea of shopping according to the seasons, as that seems to work pretty good where we live.

  81. Angela S-L says:

    Using a shopping list was reinforced as a pivotal strategy!

  82. Try to buy fresh foods that are in season.

  83. Charlotte VanderBent says:

    I shop at year round farmer’s markets and and grow some of my own veg’s in raised gardens in the back yard. It’s a little more work and all worth it to me but I get upset when these great foods go bad before we eat them so this year I’m learning to preserve foods for storage.

  84. That my strategy of shopping at 1-2 stores has many advantages.

  85. I think I learened the most from your post where you talked about how you substitute ingredients for more expensive ingredients. I have two gallon size bags full of jalepeno peppers in my freezer and never knew what to do with them other than put them into chili until you said you sub them for diced green chiles! That’s a great idea.

  86. After living in CA with double coupons and Henry’s it was hard to move up to the Pacific Northwest and not be saving enough with coupons to pay for the paper! It was encouraging reading about Tammy’s shopping habits in the same area and realize I am doing well as I shop in a similar manner to her!

    Plus I gleaned a lot of new ideas and recipes to do an even better job.

  87. Hilary Richards says:

    Reading these entries reminded me that homemade is often healthier as well as cheaper. I just made homemade yogurt and homemade granola is next!

  88. Sara Dickinson says:

    I am currently working on a price database for the stores that I shop and the most common items I buy so that I can pair my coupons with sale items for the best price possible.

  89. Loved learning a few more tips for shopping in the midwest. Overall, very inspired.

  90. I got some great ideas for how to use beans more.

  91. I am loving this series…a ton of information. I don’t really like to shop and I think I do better when I don’t go from store to store looking for a bargain. It really is true that if you go to the store less, you spend less. Menu planning and cooking from what you have is a smart way to go.

  92. I buy my fruits/veggies in bulk, and chop/freeze and dehydrate so that I have an abundance of healthy snacks/treats for the kids w/o spending a ton.

  93. I liked reading everyone’s shopping strategies/styles…very informative and shows that there is a season and a place for different ways of shopping for our families!

  94. Being reminded how economical it is to do beans in the slow cooker.

  95. Love reading all the ideas on how to be a smart shopper. One of the most helpful ways for me to feed my family on a budget is to plan out my weekly meals. Saves time every evening when someone asks, “What is for dinner?”

  96. I was reassured by the fact that Katie from New Mexico didn’t show at every store in the town, but shops at two stores because that is what is best for her family. I shop at two or three stores because that is what works for us, and I just liked to hear that someone else believes the same thing! 🙂 Thanks!

  97. Planning is key! From menu planning to making a list to not going shopping while hungry. 🙂

  98. more meals with beans!

  99. I learned (or was reminded & convicted again) about being on top of the meal planning to eliminate wasted food. Just got finished going through both fridges to label every shelf and drawer with where things should live, so that #1, leftovers only go on ONE SHELF and #2, much of our fresh produce will live at eye level. Might sound kind of anal, but….I have nine children, most of which stick leftovers in the fridge at any given time, and it has been difficult to keep track of. But no more. I’m encouraged!!!

    I have really loved this series!

  100. Julie Banton says:

    I don’t know why, but I had never thought about grocery shopping at Amazon.

  101. I learned about what things could be frozen, so that they wouldn’t go to waste(such as celery and onions).

  102. I learned to not try shopping at every store that has a sale. Pick a couple and go with it.

  103. Buying what is on sale and eating in season has helped us to save money. Our next step, Lord willing, is towards growing our own food. We already make quite a few things from scratch.

  104. To save money on REAL Food I always look for the Kroger Manager Specials on meats and veggies!!–FB Friend!!

  105. I think a main thread I’ve seen in a lot of the series, is meal planning. I’ve seen a lot of people mention it. The idea is still really overwhelming to me – having just started with couponing and shopping all the sales and getting prepared for grocery trips – that all seems like it takes long enough. My next step, is going to be to try to ease into meal planning, though.

  106. I love learning from other frugalistas how to be as wise with our budget as I can. I have learned a few things…. like buying the discounted bread weekly…. often I can get the bread for at least 3/4 price…. recently I was able to get some for 1/2 price!
    I also try to leave the littles at home…. so that I can focus on the task at hand!

  107. Good info here. When we go to Costco, we always get the kids the hotdog deal for lunch…I like how it was pointed out it is a better deal to buy the hotdogs and buns (and have easy lunch a couple other days). Will be doing that next time.

  108. I learned how to freeze different foods.

  109. I love learning about meal planning and am looking forward to trying it out to see how I can save money.

  110. I think making meat an “accent” rather than a “feature” is something I want to work on! LOVE using our meat from grass-based farms, though! 🙂

  111. I find it interesting to see everyones view points.

  112. This series has been enlightening as well as encouraging to me! I have talked about meal planning forever but this is giving me that extra push I needed to start now. I’m not a mom, but am a working wife of a husband in ministry- I love these ideas- eat well, spend less- perfect for us! Thank you!

  113. I learned that it’s better to shop at 1 or 2 store rather than running around all over town.

  114. Using beans more for sure!!

  115. I learned about having meatless meal nights.

  116. Mary Beth Elderton says:

    When I had kids at home shopping was almost like a panic of sales, and coupons, and stockpiling. Now that it is just hubby and me, we must remain frugal, but the dynamic is completely different and I am relearning how to shop! I have very much appreciated the descriptions of how ya’ll shop and am working to blend those tips into what I need.
    BTW–I loved your article on reusable bags. Tip: after unpacking, I hang the bags on the door knob so that they are right in front of me next time I go to the car.

  117. What Katie at Good Life Eats said was what really works for me right now. Spend less time traveling to lots of stores and more time on important things.

  118. The biggest thing I have learned is not to buy too much produce when it’s on sale. Sometimes when I see certain produce on sale I’ll buy a lot and not have money for other things.

  119. I learned that its better you making a weekly menu plan and price check before your shopping

  120. I learned about freezing beans.

  121. I learned that food prices really vary according to where you live!

  122. I learned that I should “shop with the seasons”!

  123. Planning ahead is very important. You saves time, money and headaches.

  124. This year has changed a lot for us…learning that conveniences are not always good for you and learning to make almost 90% of the things in our menu from scratch makes it worthwhile…Learning to make everything as my grandmas used to, has gotten us a few favorites…Now i know why obesity is not a huge deal in India as it is here (but that is slowly changing off course in the larger cities)

  125. Only shop at one or two stores. Its not saving money if you spend more on gas to get the great deal than the deal saves you.

  126. I am learning to limit the number of shopping trips per month.

  127. I have really enjoyed this series. I especially liked the lists of frugal meals, and printed off several new ones to try. Thanks!

  128. I’ve learned to shop intentionally, freeze more items, use beans more often and so many other things. Thanks for this series.

  129. Kathleen K says:

    I’ve appreciated the reinforcement to eat whole, real, unprocessed foods. I am also working really hard to PLAN AHEAD.

  130. The posts encouraged me to visit our local farmers market. I liked the frugal recipes.

  131. Freezing beans- brilliant!!!!

  132. Janet Krugel says:

    I have caught the end of this Eat Well, Spend Less, but I am so excited to get caught up!! My husband and I have been on a weight loss journey for the past year. I have lost 90 lbs and he has lost 160 lbs!!! We both have quite a way to go, but it’s been fun so far. We have just discovered the power of coupons and I have been trying to find the right network of blogs for me. I wondered when we began looking at coupons if we would be able to keep up our good eating habits with the coupons and this series is PERFECT!!

    How we save money (prior to discovering coupons): My husband works in the meat market at Brookshires and my stepmom is a Dept. Manager at Kroger. We find out about deals at both stores through those inside connections!! The trick is we have to have money when the special happens and that is not always easy for us. We have bought a LOT of markdown, almost out of date, meat over the past couple of years and it feels like we are at the mercy of people not buying something before it goes bad. Just in the past three weeks, we are getting better at the coupons and are having so much fun!!

    I am following all of the bloggers on this series now through email and when our computer gets out of the pawn shop (ugh!!) I will be following everyone on Facebook as well.

    God Bless You All!!!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Congratulations on all that amazing weight loss! That’s so wonderful. I bet it feels really good.

  133. Elizabeth Faris says:

    I know that dry beans where cheaper but I didn’t know that you could freeze them and how.

  134. I plan our meals in advance, so as I’m prepared.
    I live overseas, and usually head to the market for the freshest homegrown produce.
    It’s customary in this part of the world to haggle with the market sellers – they expect it, and it usually pays off pretty well!

  135. I’ve learned to think about how much money and time is spent in going to multiple stores.

  136. Planning is the key – plan a menu, using leftovers up and if you have alot of them serve them buffet style. LOVE THE IDEA OF THAT!!! I really enjoy reading everyones tips and it is all great information. THANKS.

  137. Meal planning and buying in season… those should help!

  138. I learned that shopping at more than one store is actually a good idea. I never thought about it much, but I agree!

  139. Advanced meal planning can really help to save the hassle of multiple grocery store trips and also help to save $ without ‘impulse buying.’

  140. Using whole foods and using meat as a small part of the meal and not as a main course. I was so hung up on ordering organic type meat, but then I was serving it as a main course often! I’ve been reminded thats a big budget no-no!

  141. I learned that “Not only is it cheaper to make your own real food staples, you know exactly what is going into your food.” *Thanks* for the giveaway!

  142. I liked the cooking from scratch and making my own things…salad dressing for instance.

  143. I learned that canned tomatoes are high in BPA! AAhh! So I need to learn more about canning… 🙂

  144. I like the meal ideas!

  145. The reminder that it isn’t a good deal if you spend more on gas than you saved is always good for me to hear.:)

  146. I loved all of the info and ideas for using beans!

  147. I’ve been encouraged by other who are trying to cook from scratch more.

  148. I liked Tammy’s tip about shopping at just 1-2 stores. Before I went back to work recently, I had time to go to multiple stores to get all the deals. When my schedule got fuller, I struggled with fitting all of that in, ended up missing more deals than I got. Now I stick with just one grocery store about 90% of the time, and plan my shopping around their sale rotation (the notion that everything goes on sale every so often) – means I can eat affordably and still have time for the other things in life.

  149. I learned more about eating whole, nutritious foods (like dried beans) and how healthy and money-saving those options can be!

  150. misty gorman says:

    it is so important to stick with whole foods, as tammy told us, they are more affordable in the long run and you can really stretch a meal with them. for example, roast a whole chicken and use the meat in a couple of recipes and save the broth for soup. the savings will really add up.

  151. cooking from scratch is healthy and cost saving!

  152. I don’t know that I learned as much as I was reminded and encouraged. Thanks!

  153. Make a list & a meal plan! So easy if you have something in your freezer…mine’s empty at the moment!

  154. I learned how to make my own staples and save money-like salad dressings, muffin mixes, pancake mix, etc…

  155. I learned that I should definitely check out some of the spice merchants that opened in town recently; we regularly use spices and are always trying new ones, but doing so can be expensive. Sounds like visiting a spice merchant could be the more affordable way to go!

  156. Like several of the ladies mentioned, we do shop at Costco twice a month. Sometimes it seems expensive since you pay so much at once but it is nice to get some reassurance that it really is a money-saver for others as well.

  157. Lots of good reminders. Great bean info … I have made flourless, sugarless chocolate cake out of beans and guests enjoy bean brownies! I have learned to buy in season more!!

  158. Its all in the planning and prep

  159. Deb Frost says:

    One of the things I have learned in this series is to look for what is available locally–and not just at the grocery store! There are lots of farmers where I live and I just need to check them out. Thanks

  160. I learned gardening can make a huge impact in eating well and spending less.

  161. I learned that saavy shopping is a state of mind:-)

  162. Melissa G. says:

    I really liked learning tips from Tammy. I like her idea of having meals and plans ahead of time for stressful days when it’s easier to want to spend money eating out or going to the store with out planning for something to eat. She really made me think.

  163. i love my crockpot black beans, and my local farmer’s market!

  164. I learned it is ok to just shop at a few stores instead of running around trying to get all of the great deals.

  165. I think the tip about freezing beans is great.

  166. I learned how easy it can be to make some staples. I do sometimes…rarely, you know, make BBQ sauce, but I have never experimented with more. I’m excited to try out yogurt!

  167. I haven’t read through the whole series yet, a little here, a little there, when I find time. I love all the information though! I liked hearing from a fellow Minnesotan so i can compare techniques. Thank you!

  168. I learned that there are a lot of great, healthy, budget friendly meal ideas out there! I’ve added several to my rotation!

  169. Denver Bargains had some great pointers for me as I live in CO.

  170. I also live in Colorado and found the blogs from Carrie’s site. I love the tip about shopping at multiple places. While I know that there are a lot of organic options as far as getting shares in cows or getting organic milk and product, most of those things are out of my budget. I, in the past, have always shopped primarily at King Soopers (Krogers) with occasional trips to Safeway. This last week I tried the tip of shopping at multiple stores and got great deals in doing so! It’s definitely a tip I will be utilizing in the future

  171. i really enjoyed the bean recipes and seeing everyone’s shopping trips. it’s helpful to see how people approach shopping for their families. i only just started using dried beans/beans in general and it was nice to see different ways to use them. i’ve also been moving more towards whole foods/less processed and it has affected my budget more so i appreciate all the ideas.

  172. Jennifer H. says:

    I always thought that farmer’s markets were too expensive, but I look forward to trying some this summer.

  173. i’m going to make time this spring/summer to check out the local farmer’s market.

  174. I learned to utilize fresh produce from farmer’s markets!

  175. I learned about making my own salad dressing and freezing beans

  176. Mary Shaw says:

    I’ve learned how important meal planning is to save money… and I would love to have abackyard to grow some veggies in!

  177. I learned that I need to stick to my list so as to not overspend – like Alyssa (maybe it’s a TX transplant thing?)

  178. Jennifer P says:

    I learned that you need to plan for healthy eating, even during busy or stressful times. That is my biggest downfall. I need to have a game plan to eat healthy & save money!!

  179. Katherine says:

    I loved the meal planning tips. I fell off the meal planning bandwagon when I got kind of sick. I need to get back on. 🙂

  180. I loved hearing how there isn’t just one way to grocery shop. I identified with a few of them, but gleamed tips from others.

  181. I liked Mandi’s ideas for saving money on groceries when you can’t shop the sales papers and live too far from the grocery stores!

  182. Just Coupons says:

    Well I learned from Shaina about using similar ingredients in multiple meals to avoid over purchasing

  183. Rebecca R says:

    I learned how to shop multiple stores in order to get the best deals.

  184. Shannon H says:

    I meal plan and this series has me fine tuning my planning. And the affirmation that shopping the way it best meets your needs was good.

  185. Goodness I learned so much, that I need to go back and print posts out and re-read them!
    You all posted a lot of delicious recipes that I can’t wait to try, like the whole grain pancake recipe, and the salad dressings!
    The series has also really encouraged me in working hard to make sure my husband and I are eating HEALTHY.

  186. It doesn’t matter where you live. If you’re willing to be creative and take some time, you can eat well and affordably.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  187. Loving this series! Making a plan and planning ahead! We will all have crazy days and by planning we can be prepared~

  188. Jessica Rodriguez says:

    I appreciated learning about the different grocery stores – their sales and their high-cost items. This will help me plan better and save more money.

    Now, here’s hoping for a winning email coming my way soon!!! I love giveaways – thank you!

  189. Elizabeth buckner says:

    It was encouraging to read lots of ideas to save money. One that will help me is planning ahead, Meal plan, grocery list, etc.

  190. meatless meals!

  191. I was reminded from Mandi to have a meal plan.
    She plans her meals with “Plan to Eat.”

  192. Jen Logan says:

    Great series! I learned that if you think outside the box just a little – you can save a lot!

  193. Wow! I truly did not know how much cheaper dried beans were! I’m going to really have to start cooking dried white beans.

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